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  • No Hard Feelings:Finding The Focus in A Teacher-Student Function
  • Vernon Augustus Brooks

The learning process is forever riddled with controversies. Principal among them is that many students leave the classroom with the feeling that the odds are stocked against them, or that teachers bear grudges that are often used to malign their work or progress. But if the main focus in this teacher-student function is to make students realize their educational potential, then teachers ought to be mindful to send the right signal, and not to allow their protégés to leave with the wrong impression. Mind you, teachers are still human beings and are therefore not infallible, a characteristic which brings them down to earth to contaminate them with the same basic flaws that sometimes beset many relationships. As a teacher, if you adhere to certain professional guidelines, then you can avoid many pitfalls. A reference to guidelines is by no means trifling because those are what help to determine the pillars of the institution of education. The following paragraphs address a few major ones that can help you to strike an unequivocally productive balance with your students.

A teacher should get to know the parent(s) or guardian(s) of the children under his or her tutorship. Frankly speaking, in the contemporary period, you cannot be teaching a child fruitfully unless you are communicating with the parents. Sending a report card at the end of a term or year is just scratching the surface, because an interface interaction is important to monitor the progress of many scholars. A report card is simply a summary of work done amidst a medium and cannot fill the major gaps that are often still gaping. When children know that you're communicating with their parents, it sweetens the community of encouragement necessary for those children to conduct business and therefore the potential is there to uplift their subsequent impetus to achieve. Despite what might appear to be an initial resentment, the children can see your interest coming out and therefore they would be less likely to feel that you're simply there to exact penalties when they cross the line. Maybe if you get to know the parents, you might begin to even understand the children a little better and your tolerance of certain aspects of their behavior might jump from zero to one. [End Page 54]

Michael was a grade nine student who got on Mrs. Forrester's nerves every time he tried to impress his peers by standing up with his pants down and exposing an obvious erection through his conspicuously displayed underwear. Of course, his action never failed to be fuelled by the laughter that it created. That condition had been facilitated by the customary fact that Michael always walked around with the waist of his pants straddling his thighs. But before Mrs. Forrester blew her top, she decided to speak to a colleague to get a second opinion. Luckily, another teacher overheard the conversation and recognized the student by dint of the description, which caught her hearing only because the story sounded familiar. Mrs. Forrester turned to the intervener for her free advice, which was to check the student's dossier. It was then she realized that Michael had major home problems and both he and his mother were not coping. Mrs. Forrester met with the single parent of three others apart from the one in question, and a corresponding effort to resolve their differences ended with all three personnel breaking down with a tearfully warm embrace. From there henceforth, both Michael and Mrs. Forrester saw each other differently and Michael's mother went away with a different approach to carrying out her childrearing duties. First, mother and son realized they had to seek counseling to repair a damaged relationship. And second, Michael's behavior got some supervision from the school's guidance counselor. So everyone ended up coping happily ever after.

Another guideline to follow is, never put your expectations way out of students' reach. It would be good to get milk from coffee, because you don't prefer to drink it black but a river flowing up a hill is still unseen...


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pp. 54-56
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